US author and pastor Tim LaHaye - best known for co-authoring the best-selling Left Behind series of books - has died at the age of 90.

A statement on his ministry's website said Dr LaHaye, described by TIME magazine in the mid-Noughties as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in the US, died on Monday in a San Diego area hospital, just days after suffering a stroke.

Born in Detroit, the son of an automotive worker, in 1926, his father Frank died when he was just nine-years-old, an event described as having a "lasting impact" on him. He married his wife Beverly in 1947; in 1979 Mrs LaHaye founded Concerned Women for America, then the nation's largest public policy organisation for women boasting as many as 600,000 members.

Dr LaHaye pastored churches in South Carolina and Minnesota before moving his family to California where he became pastor at the Scott Memorial Baptist Church which expanded to three locations under his 25 year leadership. He also hosted a radio show, appeared on TV, and founded numerous schools and a college as well as being a co-founder of the Institute for Creation Research.

He was also a prolific author - writing more than 70 books in all - and rose to international fame following the publication of the first book in the 16 book Left Behind series - which he co-authored with Jerry B Jenkins - in 1995. The books have sold more than 80 million copies.

Mr Jenkins has reportedly described Mr LaHaye as a "model, a mentor, a father figure, and a friend" who was a "spiritual giant".

“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul I don’t expect to fill until I see him again.”

Dr LaHaye is survived by four children, nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

News of when services will be held is yet to be announced.

~ www.timlahaye.com